DFW Invasive Species

Red Tailed Boa

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Red Tailed Boa

Currently, red-tailed boas are only found on the island of St. Croix in the USVI. They seek refuge in locations with shelter such as urban areas, forests, and coastal shrub. However, they are most often spotted on the west end of St. Croix between Estate Northside and Estate La Grange.
Scientific name
Boa Constrictor
Common Boa
The invasive Red-Tailed Boa is native to South America and some Caribbean islands of the Lesser Antilles such as St. Lucia
Red Tailed Boas are large, non-venomous constrictor snakes meaning they kill their prey by squeezing. They are colored by a range of beige to red dorsal patterns, and tend to have a concentration of darker brown and red colorations near their tail, hence “Red-Tailed”.
They are nocturnal and slow moving in nature, preferring places that are hidden and quiet. Young boas spend more time hiding in trees before they become burdened by their growth and migrate to the ground. Adults can reach up to 15ft! Red-tailed boas prey on a variety of vertebrates from mice, rats, and other reptiles to small dogs, cats, and farm animals. Their jaws have the ability to unhinge, allowing their mouths to stretch wide to eat their prey whole!

Red-tailed boas are incredibly popular exotic pets as they do well in captivity and are generally tame. It is believed the red-tailed boa population on St. Croix began with the release of a pet boa into the wild. Red Tailed boas are also escape artists, and can or the animal escaped from captivity. . The first observations were recorded off the North Carolina coast in 1985, then in Bermuda in 2001, the Bahamas in 2004 and now they are prolific throughout the Caribbean.

Females reach sexual maturity at 3 years of age, and then can produce 20-50 live hatchlings after a 110-150 days gestation period. The maximum litter size is recorded as being 60 hatchlings after one gestation period. Hatchlings lead independent lives from birth.

Females also do NOT need male fertilization to reproduce.
Ecological Impact
What You Can Do!
  • Golden 2017 
  • Vázquez-Domínguez et al., 2012 
  • Burridge & Simmons, 2003 
  • Cuaron et al, 2004 
  • Issg Database  
  • Reed 2005 
  • Areste & Cebrian, 2003